There will be some women who will not relate to this post and for that, I’m grateful. I will say, however, that this post is important even if it doesn’t resonate with you, as some of your friends and sisters may very well be in this muck and they might be very confusing, very emotionally draining to you. This is a key to seeing inside the fog you may feel when with them.
The other day, I woke up and had grown at least 3 feet. I walked around, taking my kids to school and going to meetings and working out, and just kept thinking, “Why am I so tall?” And the chairs upon which I sat felt so small and so, well, real. The steering wheel felt so cold and hard, so vinyl.
I kept thinking that I had snapped, only to be comforted by the - probably untrue - statement, “Crazy people never think they’re crazy.” And, then it hit me.
I’ve spent the last 15 years not in my body. And I’ve spent the last 10 years since the birth of my first in a literal haze of postpartum recovery. I could spend this entire post writing trauma porn about what happened to me, the long line of events that would haunt you and still haunt me. Hauntings that I’m sure only scrape the top lid of what many of you have experienced and certainly many other women have.
I am not unique.
And that’s the purpose of this post. It’s to be totally honest about the fact that many of us women are bravely facing a total absence of self each day. Certainly we have moments wherein there is a peek-a-boo of presence and embodiment, but many of us have never really anchored deep in a real way after our kids were born - and perhaps ever in our lives.
Sure, we make decisions and operate seemingly normally, but there’s something bleak and unanswered beneath the surface. And it’s hard to detect because our society would tell us that that level of bleakness would mean that the afflicted woman would be sitting on her couch with rotting bananas surrounding her greasy hair as her smelly MuMu’s latest hole sneaks a peek of a leaking, shriveled boob. Meaning, it would be an obvious Hell.
However, instead, the amazing creatures that we are learn how to perform. We learn how to get through. We learn how to leave our bodies so we aren’t the MuMu-ed illustration of our souls. We learn how to grasp just enough of life to think - and have others believe - we’re awake. We attach ourselves to identities of other moms. We find solace in those seemingly brave enough to complain and make light of the torture motherhood can be when you are not in your body.
Yet. We aren’t in our bodies.
This is relevant right now. And I feel the need to be very honest about it because I believe - and I know you know - that women are the ticket to the change the world needs right now. This is urgent. And I know that even though we may be organizing beautifully and doing everything we can, if you are being triggered and if you are not in your body, you will not be as an effective activist as your children and your community and the lives of the oppressed need you to be.
Now, alert alert: Action and organizing will soothe you. It will make you feel alive and connected. But, I can tell you from experience that if you are not fully embodied, even that sense of aliveness is not enough. You won’t make the decisions that you are capable of making or think of the solutions that very well could be The Solution. It’s just not physiologically possible. Your brain isn’t in that space and there’s no way to force it there just by will. And I will emphasize this with compassion and not shame by confessing that I created this business, had it in full operation for 4 years, and made big mistakes that I’m unraveling and fixing today with the sort of pain and humility no one wants to experience - ALL WHILE NOT IN MY BODY.
And I had no idea. I just didn’t. I was operating and doing and trying and forcing and soothing and believing and hoping and fighting, but I wasn’t anchored. And I made many errors. Errors that I think, as activists each of us, we can avoid while in this fight in front of us.
So, today, while I sit up at night in my new skin, hearing my kids coughs and laughter with new and awake ears, I am here to say that my first line of action is to get my shit together and to stay in my body. That in itself is a privilege. That I can write this post. That I can wake up in a house with a roof. That I can walk outside. That I can read and think. And while some people might tell you to drop your story and get over your own trauma and triggers, I would beg instead that you go really deep and you ask that story what it needs. And then you take responsibility for those needs right now, so that you can extend yourself without depletion and with rational, intelligent, embodied action.
The tricky part here is the subject of postpartum depression and it’s relationship to disassociating. I am not going to get into the PPD subject in this post, because it’s definitely not in my scope of knowledge other than personal experience. What I do know about it is that even with all the hotlines and PSAs and information out there today about it, none of it ever felt like an option to me. Probably because I wasn’t in my body. And probably because it felt homogenized and clinical. I don’t know. I just know that none of it felt safe and none of it prompted me to do the work I needed to do. Exposure started it. And then I got help, the professional help (not bookstore help) I needed - and STILL need.
I believe that the start to this sort of change can begin with rooting yourself into the primal, most fundamental aspects of your nervous system. Obviously, you will also want to listen to qualified professionals who will rightly suggest therapy and medication, but while you pursue those modalities there is another component of healing that begins right there in that home you call your body. With the animal in you.
Get in touch with your pelvic floor. Heal your center, the way you deserve. Get moving. Screw the idea that fitness is for being fit. No, it’s my fight to be in my body enough to be the activist I need to be. Be willing to do that work, each day, each breath. I can’t explain the magic therein any more than saying that I believe it can support your healing in ways untapped. When you stabilize your pelvis, when you give your spine it’s resiliency back, and when you are not stressed from pain, your nervous system will start to respond to stress differently. It will behave more powerfully.
Maslow’s hierarchy of needs states that you can’t become self-actualized as a human being if your basic needs aren’t met. Isn’t that what we are all fighting for in the world right now? Isn’t that what we need to be active about? Your body is a microcosm of that incredible truth. Start with your basic needs, be an activist in your body right now, today.
99% of women I know and love are deeply triggered by the events in the world right now. And, like you, I am trying to figure out what I can do. And this is what I can do. This is my service to this time. To be a guide to the part of you that can instigate embodiment and power.
So. From what I've heard from current members, the strength challenge offered here at MommaStrong helps them during the sh*t of life. It teaches them a way of being in their body that they've never experienced. And, best yet, it gives them space to discover a way out of that which holds them down. If someone you know is sharing this post with you it's not because they think you'll be excited to join another bikini body burn deal or that you need to workout. It's because she believes in you and she knows, like herself, that you deserve a foundation for staying put and showing up.
In honor of the stuff we all are facing and in deference to my piece in it, I'm giving my programs away for free for a few days so that you know I’m not trying to exploit you and so that there are no barriers, real or felt, to the basic needs of your body.
You can join me on Monday, Feb. 6th for 28-days of learning how to be in your body. Here’s the link. You’ll have the option to grab it for free or to pay the normal super low cost (to cover operations) of $2. You pick the option that works for you. All I want is you to get in your body and I know I can help there.
Click here to join me on Monday, February 6th for 28 Days of daily workouts that will help you learn how to stay put (The Hook).
Registration will end on Sunday, Feb. 5th at noon CST. But, the earlier you get in, the more time I have to prepare you and get our ducks in working order.
Whew. Let's do this.
Oh, how do you know if you are out of your body? Good question. Here are some possible symptoms:
- You feel extremely irritated by the needs others express, especially your children. “Mom” will feel overstimulating and abrasive.
- You are swirly and abstract in thought and talking
- You feel a magnetic, insatiable urge to use substances or things that both make you numb and also make you feel alive (binge tv, alcohol, substances, toxic people)
- You aren’t eating regularly or normally - hunger feels like a distant and unimportant cue (you eat too much or not enough)
- Your sleep is disturbed (other than by children) and you don’t even know when you’re tired
- You are not communicating with friends and family openly, honestly, and consistently.
- You have morbid thoughts (it has to be talked about)
- Your emotions are all or nothing (not including normal hormonal shifts). You are easy to cry, feel defensive, feel invaded, feel isolated, etc.
These are just a few.
And here are numbers for getting professional help right now, today. This is what can often be called the “Thousand Pound Phone Call.” Feeling that is a sign you need to call. If the phone feels heavy, hug your fear and pick it up. No one will take your kids and you will not be harmed and you will still be in control, I promise. Exposure is the ticket.
Postpartum Support International Warmline 1.800.944.4773
More urgent help: